5 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Sales Development Reps

May 10, 2017

I graduated from college two years ago. Since I’ve been in the working world, I’ve been passionate about marketing. I was lucky enough to land my first job working on the front lines of marketing, not as a marketer per se, but as a sales development representative for LinkedIn.  

As an SDR, I have the daily opportunity to talk and email back and forth with our potential customers. In the conversations, I’m at the nexus where marketing (whose content has generated the leads that I’m pursuing) and sales (where I am conducting a sort of triage, talking with prospects to gauge the depth of their interest in LinkedIn’s offerings). Through my experience, I have quickly learned a few insights on why marketing and sales development need to be in tight alignment to make one another's lives easier and achieve synergies together.

Read to see what marketers can learn from the experience of an SDR like me:

1. Learn to focus not on generating more leads, but on generating more leads that are qualified

One of the most exciting parts of a SDR’s day can be looking through a fresh lead list of prospects with titles that we want to speak with. Conversely, it can be incredibly frustrating and uninspiring to see a list of new leads who don’t have the right job titles. Relevant leads create greater time and energy efficiencies for sales development reps.

2. Gain insight into customer pain points

From simply spending time listening to sales development calls, marketers can quickly get a sense of what approaches are working in these conversations and what concepts are resonating with potential customers. Marketers can then repurpose these “one-liners” for their content to influence their audience earlier on in the buying process, thus generating more qualified leads and streamlining the sales process.

3. Develop a better understanding of when to up-sell and cross-sell

When a prospect downloads an ebook created by marketing, it doesn’t always mean that the prospect is poised to become an enterprise customer. Marketers can sometimes feed “leads” to reps when those prospects have engaged with content that is not appropriate for the products that reps are selling. Marketers need to understand what the potential clients’ intentions are when engaging with content and then appropriately filter the leads —only feeding the vetted ones to the reps.

4. Provide A/B tested content for SDR email efforts

Through A/B testing and constant analysis of what’s working in their content, marketers have the best understanding of what type of content resonates with prospects. Consequently, they can think of sales developments’ e-mail campaigns as an extension of that content. Sales development is constantly looking for new content to include in the emails they send to potential customers; yet they don’t always have the time to analyze what’s working and what isn’t. Marketing should place special emphasis on keeping the lines of communication open with SDRs to keep the reps posted on what content is generating the strongest engagement. Additionally, by working together, SDRs and the marketing team can use SDR email efforts as a new venue for testing the value of specific pieces of content lower in the funnel.

5. The entire marketing team, up to and including the CMO, can learn from the SDR front-line experience

From the CMO to the content team, all marketers can take away insights by listening to SDRs, who are daily witnesses to one of most important parts of the buyer’s journey. SDRs are often the first human interaction a prospect has with a company. Through the eyes of the SDR, the content team can receive direct feedback on their campaigns, which can an influence future content generation. Plus, through the SDR, upper management can gain a holistic understanding of what their buyers are experiencing in this crucial phase of the buyer’s journey.

So, marketers, I suggest scheduling a conversation with your SDRs. And, SDRs, do the same with the marketing team. I’d wager that everyone will learn something. 

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